Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: THE RED HOUSE by Delmer Daves

Expand Messages
  • hotlove666
    ... I like Daves, but I was a bit let down by Red House - it s old fashioned compared to Dark Passage. But it s very nicely shot. One of the deathless lines of
    Message 1 of 16 , Oct 1, 2005
    View Source
    • 0 Attachment
      --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "thebradstevens" <bradstevens22@h...>
      wrote:
      > Just noticed that the UK's Horror Channel wil be screening Delmer
      > Daves' THE RED HOUSE (1947) next week. I've been trying to find a
      > copy of this ever since seeing the mouth-watering clip included in
      > Martin Scorsese's PERSONAL JOURNEY THROUGH AMERICAN MOVIES. Any fans
      > of this film (or Daves in general) here?

      I like Daves, but I was a bit let down by Red House - it's old
      fashioned compared to Dark Passage. But it's very nicely shot. One of
      the deathless lines of auteurism is Louis Skorecki's, from his
      Spencer's Mountain review, "The Scent of Marron GlacE": "Delmer Daves,
      always confronted with a screen to large for him to fill." In any case,
      the Amiens retro of Daves was an eye-opener for me. I'm seeing
      everything by him that I can now. A talented eccentric, worth many a
      boring master.
    • Blake Lucas
      ... fans ... It happens I ve been thinking about Daves a lot lately. The reason is that I finally got complete on him very recently (with A Kiss in the
      Message 2 of 16 , Oct 3, 2005
      View Source
      • 0 Attachment
        --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "thebradstevens"
        <bradstevens22@h...> wrote:
        > Just noticed that the UK's Horror Channel wil be screening Delmer
        > Daves' THE RED HOUSE (1947) next week. I've been trying to find a
        > copy of this ever since seeing the mouth-watering clip included in
        > Martin Scorsese's PERSONAL JOURNEY THROUGH AMERICAN MOVIES. Any
        fans
        > of this film (or Daves in general) here?


        It happens I've been thinking about Daves a lot lately. The reason
        is that I finally got complete on him very recently (with "A Kiss
        in the Dark"--one of his most minor movies, as he had no flair for
        comedy). Thirty films and I've seen them all--I made a prioritizing
        list of the titles and it's just fascinating to look at it, as it
        takes in a range of genres and the highs and lows of his work go
        through all phases of his caeer, of which there are maybe three.

        First, I like him. I wouldn't see all of someone's films if I
        didn't, but my personal rule on this is that if a director has made
        even one masterpiece, I will make the effort to do it, as there may
        be more. That said, he has a fair share of bad films in there--I
        like well over half of them, but the least are incredibly dull and
        it always seems mystifying as to why he did them. They are not just
        assignments because he wrote the scripts in some cases. A half
        dozen better ones than the least still just miss, even though they
        are interesting in ways. His very best films are oustanding, and as
        most of these are Westerns made in the 50s and I have a predilection
        for the genre--of which he is definitely one of the major masters--
        that partly explains why he is an interesting director for me.

        Second, of the non-Westerns, my favorite is "The Red House," so Bill
        and I are not in agreement on that one. This is an unusual and
        striking film which I've seen several times. I don't find it at all
        conventional, though other Daves films are. But while we're on the
        subject, here's Bill's post:

        >I like Daves, but I was a bit let down by Red House - it's old
        >fashioned compared to Dark Passage. But it's very nicely shot. One
        >of the deathless lines of auteurism is Louis Skorecki's, from his
        >Spencer's Mountain review, "The Scent of Marron GlacE": "Delmer
        >Daves, always confronted with a screen to large for him to fill."
        >In any case, the Amiens retro of Daves was an eye-opener for me.
        >I'm seeing everything by him that I can now. A talented eccentric,
        >worth many a boring master.

        The Louis Skorecki quote is one of those things that was fun for
        someone to say but is absolutely meaningless. Daves never has any
        trouble filling the screen, even in his bad films. He has an
        interesting style as well as an interesting sensibility. Sometimes
        it's observed that he likes elaborate crane shots, as if this were
        somehow the defining thing. Well, it's true but only sometimes. I
        find him generally fluent with camera movement, but he isn't
        obsessive about it. Most of the time, he is your basic classical
        director and that's one reason why I find Bill's description "a
        talented eccentric" to be a little strange.

        But the main reason I do is that unlike many American directors who
        have been and are admired, especially by auteurists--and I'm
        referring mostly to directors who tend to do genre films and are not
        prestige-seeking--Daves was never anything but an A film director.
        In this he's unlike say Anthony Mann or Richard Fleischer who
        apprenticed in Bs and moved up, or Tourneur and Boetticher who
        seemed to moved up to A films but tended always to work
        (effectively) on a somewhat more modest level, or Ulmer, who seemed
        to prefer the freedom of Bs, where he could be something closer
        to "a talented eccentric" than Daves ever could be. The major
        studios supported virtually all of Daves' movies--except "The Red
        House" and "Kings Go Forth" which were independent UA releases but
        still mainstream. So even if he was somehow "eccentric" (I'd love
        to hear more about this), he was on some level a studio craftsman,
        and can even be reproached for this in certain instances.
        "The Red House" as noted is the only independent film of Daves'
        first phase (basically the 40s), when he was a Warner Bros.
        director. This is a very uneven group of films. "The Red House"
        has an unusual subject and a kind of poetic atmosphere that none of
        the others do--it makes me wish Daves had been doing films
        independent of Warner Bros. and not making movies like "A Kiss in
        the Dark" and "Hollywood Canteen." That said, some of the others
        are much better. "Pride of the Marines" is a not untypical wartime
        studio project, but very well-done, and the same goes for the
        underrated "The Very Thought of You"--I didn't expect too much from
        this but it turned out to be a fairly distinctive wartime romance.
        But Daves' most admired 40s film is definitely "Dark Passage."
        Since it stars Bogart and Bacall, most people have seen it. Also
        it's from a novel by David Goodis, always a good source for movies
        ("Shoot the Piano Player," "Nightfall," "The Burglar" are others).
        But although I loved this one when I first saw it years ago, I've
        liked it less and less through the years; the allure came to seem a
        little superficial to me, even though I've always loved the ending
        (only possible in the context of Hollywood "dreamscape"). But
        recently I reread the piece in American Directors by our own
        Jean-Pierre Coursodon, who has a highly unusual, interesting
        interpretation of the whole film that makes a lot of sense, and made
        me want to watch it again in the terms he describes. I won't try to
        paraphrase it here but read it if you can, and if you see the film
        without reading it, don't take the whole thing too literally and it
        might work better.

        In the 50s, Daves got away from Warners and this is the period of
        his Westerns. Interestingly, except for kind of interesting "Kings
        Go Forth"--a World War II triangular melodrama--it's also the period
        of his silliest movies, some of them made during tenure at Fox which
        lasted about five years. I know there are fans of "Bird of Paradise"
        on this list, but I'm not one--I like King Vidor's 30s version of
        this much better. Likewise "Treasure of the Goldon Condor" is a
        remake of "Son of Fury" (Cromwell) which wasn't even that great to
        begin with (of course, the remakes are in color). In these films as
        in "Demetrius and the Gladiators" you have to have something within
        you that has a reason to make such films and engage them in a
        personal way, and I don't see that Daves does, though he seems quite
        willing to try. So while they're not terrible exactly, they are not
        too great, and that's for sure. Even more inexplicable is "Never
        Let Me Go" as this was made for MGM and not under contract, so he
        must have wanted to do it. Why? It's numbingly conventional--his
        worst film. As far from "eccentric" as you can get.

        But those Westerns are another matter. Daves the artist comes fully
        alive in them. "3:10 to Yuma," "Cowboy," and "The Hanging Tree" are
        especially good--I never tire of any of these and never will--and
        I'm also glad to get back to "The Last Wagon," "Broken Arrow,"
        and "Jubal" from time to time. The lesser ones, "Drum Beat" and
        even "The Badlanders" (definitely the least) are still pretty good--
        the contemporary-set "Return of the Texan," virtually unknown, is
        notably good and a real beauty; I wish it would come back
        somewhere. Unlike some genre specialists, like Mann or Boetticher,
        who tended to certain themes and subjects (though their work in the
        genre is just as rich even so), Daves' subjects are mostly different
        from each other, though they all have a pleasing consideration of
        civilization v. frontier polarities of one kind or another. He
        played a part in initiating the 50s pro-Indian cycle with "Broken
        Arrow" which may not be the best film in the cycle but is still very
        fine (a film he wrote, Robert D. Webb's "White Feather" is another
        excellent entry in the cycle), and his feeling for the subject (and
        indeed all his Westerns) may owe something to the fact he spent some
        of his formative years living with Hopis and Navajos. The greatest
        of his Westerns IMO is "3:10 to Yuma" (1957), one of the best films
        ever made in the genre. I know there are naysayers of this film in
        this group, but may I say politely that you are being myopic in this
        case. Some films are very good in conception--meaning they may have
        some poetic or visual idea guiding them, while other films are very
        good in realization, meaning that with little forethought a director
        will find a stunning artistic coherence making the film; but "3:10
        to Yuma" is one of the rare films which has both. No other Western
        so richly anchors its story in seasonal/weather conditions, a
        drought, making this the mainspring of the film both visually and
        narratively, and as filmed, a palpable sense of this is in every
        frame, and one feels its effect on all the action and every
        relationship, both literally and in deeper, metaphorical ways. But
        it all feels natural and not in the least pretentious. You couldn't
        be a non-artist and turn out a film like this.

        The third phase of Daves is the most bizarre and the one likely to
        raise the most debate. After his final Western "The Hanging Tree"
        (made back at Warner Bros.), he returned to contract status at that
        studio and turned out a series of late studio-era melodramas which
        took him midway through the 60s to the end of his career. Note that
        the first of these "A Summer Place" was made after Douglas Sirk's
        last "Imitiation of Life"--and came out late in 1959. This is not
        insignificant. For in these melodramas, irony and distancing
        devices are now gone, and the movies seem straightforward and
        sincere, highly glossy productions. But I think that's just a
        little illusory. It seems to be so, but beneath the surface there
        is a churning feeling of the social changes and changes of sexual
        mores coming in that decade which plays interestingly against those
        glossy surfaces. These films can in fact be more perverse than Sirk
        --try "Susan Slade" for example. I'd like to say I have no problem
        with the young stars who dominate--the much-maligned Troy Donahue
        was a fine actor (Brad will know that he played effectively later in
        Monte Hellman's "Cockfighter" as Millie Perkins' alcoholic husband)
        though Daves maybe could have worked harder with him. And I like
        the delectable Connie Stevens (who can forget her earlier as
        Jerry Lewis' girlfriend in "Rock-a-bye Baby" or later on in
        Aldrich's "The Grissom Gang") and also Suzanne Pleshette (who in
        this period gave what's known as a "pitch-perfect" performance in
        Hitchcock's "The Birds"). No, this group is worth some serious
        attention. That said, they are not all equally good and I don't
        think any of them is great, but it is an interesting group of
        films. A little more sober and always absorbing (it's the only one
        of his late films in black and white) "Youngblood Hawke" is probably
        my favorite of these later Daves movies.

        Again, looking over the whole list, it's still hard for me to make a
        lot of sense of Daves, though he is not an indifferent stylist, and
        seems to have a lot of ideas, a crusading spirit with regard to some
        things (like sexuality--for instance; and this stretches from a
        movie like "The Red House" on to those late melodramas but is most
        beautifully engaged in the Westerns--a romantic/sexual interlude
        between Felicia Farr and Glenn Ford in "3:10 to Yuma" is one of the
        most moving in all cinema), and just has that really interesting
        career arc as I've tried to describe it. It's clear to me now that
        he does have to be considered in light of his whole career and not
        only as a great director of Westerns. And I'm not inclined to write
        off some of his lesser films like the interesting "Parrish" or
        even "Treasure of the Goldon Condor" without a second look, given
        the opportunity.

        Blake Lucas
      • Dan Sallitt
        ... I guess you re calling me out, eh, Blake? I watched it again last year, because you and Zach and Jean-Pierre like it so much. I dunno, the thing just
        Message 3 of 16 , Oct 6, 2005
        View Source
        • 0 Attachment
          > The greatest of his Westerns IMO is "3:10 to Yuma" (1957), one of the
          > best films ever made in the genre. I know there are naysayers of this
          > film in this group, but may I say politely that you are being myopic in
          > this case.

          I guess you're calling me out, eh, Blake? I watched it again last year,
          because you and Zach and Jean-Pierre like it so much. I dunno, the thing
          just seems so blunt to me. Everything in the film gets turned into
          something to ratchet up the suspense. - Dan
        • jpcoursodon
          ... year, ... thing ... Is suspense all of a sudden a dirty word? Yes, it s a suspense story. it s more likely to work if you ratchet it up than down. But
          Message 4 of 16 , Oct 6, 2005
          View Source
          • 0 Attachment
            --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt <sallitt@p...> wrote:
            >

            > I guess you're calling me out, eh, Blake? I watched it again last
            year,
            > because you and Zach and Jean-Pierre like it so much. I dunno, the
            thing
            > just seems so blunt to me. Everything in the film gets turned into
            > something to ratchet up the suspense. - Dan
            >
            Is suspense all of a sudden a dirty word? Yes, it's a suspense
            story. it's more likely to work if you ratchet it up than down. But
            there's so much more to it than just the suspense...
            JPC
          • Blake Lucas
            ... Sallitt! Dan Sallitt! (God, I wish I could say that the way that John Wayne would). Actually, no, it wasn t specifically directed to you, Dan, though I
            Message 5 of 16 , Oct 7, 2005
            View Source
            • 0 Attachment
              --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt <sallitt@p...> wrote:
              >
              > I guess you're calling me out, eh, Blake?

              "Sallitt! Dan Sallitt!" (God, I wish I could say that the way that
              John Wayne would).

              Actually, no, it wasn't specifically directed to you, Dan, though I
              knew your opinion before the more recent viewing you refer to below
              as I got you to the film the first time some years ago. I did
              notice a derisive reference from Fred Camper sometime earlier this
              year, as if the film were not even worth talking about, so had him
              in mind also. I'm most tempted to call out Howard Hawks who
              repeatedly claimed that Van Heflin should have said to Glenn Ford
              that if there were to be any shooting, Ford would be the first one
              shot because Heflin would shoot him, and that Hawks corrected this
              in "Rio Bravo." But the problem with this is that Heflin does say
              this very thing to Ford in the film, and Hawks either overlooked it
              or deliberately chose to ignore it.

              Really though, Dan, I appreciate this post because I thought I'd
              written enough about Daves to warrant some replies in that post of
              mine, whether in agreement or disagreement. It seems Daves must
              really be out of the critical loop these days, and I think that's
              too bad. He has had defenders, especially in France, not just
              Jean-Pierre but Tavernier also, for example--the latter's passion
              for "The Hanging Tree" especially is hard to miss, and I think all
              three of us like that one.

              I watched it again last year,
              > because you and Zach and Jean-Pierre like it so much. I dunno,
              the thing
              > just seems so blunt to me. Everything in the film gets turned
              into
              > something to ratchet up the suspense. - Dan

              Jean-Pierre already answered on the suspense thing quite well and I
              agree with him. It's supposed to have suspense, you know, and it
              certainly does and I too take this as a virtue, but I like his
              saying that there's a lot more to it than that which I obviously
              agree with as well. For one thing, you're well-aware that I gave
              this film special attention in my piece "Saloon Girls and Ranchers'
              Daughters..." just for the handling of the characters of the two
              women, who are especially vibrant and vital to the whole even though
              much of it focuses on the two guys holed up in a hotel room, and in
              that same piece provided some very close specific analysis of Daves'
              camerawork and how it relates to the whole movie and helps to gives
              it internal formal coherence, the kind of "style to meaning"
              coherence Fred was just on about here pretty recently.

              In cutting my post, you elided the following:

              "Some films are very good in conception--meaning they may have
              some poetic or visual idea guiding them, while other films are very
              good in realization, meaning that with little forethought a director
              will find a stunning artistic coherence making the film; but "3:10
              to Yuma" is one of the rare films which has both. No other Western
              so richly anchors its story in seasonal/weather conditions, a
              drought, making this the mainspring of the film both visually and
              narratively, and as filmed, a palpable sense of this is in every
              frame, and one feels its effect on all the action and every
              relationship, both literally and in deeper, metaphorical ways. But
              it all feels natural and not in the least pretentious. You couldn't
              be a non-artist and turn out a film like this."

              No mention of suspense in this at all, which of course doesn't mean
              the film doesn't have it. But since you don't address my main point
              in your post, that the film is equally strong artistically in
              conception and execution, and why it is, your dismissal just seems
              rather light and casual to me. Truthfully, it reminds me of what
              you said when I first got you to see the film. You walked out
              saying you'd spent much of the movie wondering if was directed at
              all, or something to that effect. (Please correct me if I'm wrong).

              Disliking it for too much suspense or whatever is, well, a reason,
              I guess, but not directed? You know I find "A Nos amours" to be
              made in an emotional and stylistic straightjacket but I wouldn't
              dream of doubting that is directed, and directed in exactly the way
              that filmmaker wanted it to be. Similarly, "Romance" seems to me
              nothing more than a regurgitation of Breillat's own sexual confusion,
              perhaps deliberately created in a way that it will either have this
              effect or involve you empathetically with her personal notions, but
              this film too is clearly directed.

              The difference is that the equally deliberative direction of Daves
              in "3:10 to Yuma" is so much richer and leads to sublimity.

              And, honestly, I really don't think the brown eyes of Felicia Farr
              are in there to rachet up the suspense, not to say they don't
              ratchet up something.

              Blake


              >
            • Dan Sallitt
              ... I don t know how you remember these dumb-ass things I said 25 years ago, but I ve mercifully forgotten. Anyway, I can t be more than casual in discussing
              Message 6 of 16 , Oct 7, 2005
              View Source
              • 0 Attachment
                > But since you don't address my main point in your post, that the film is
                > equally strong artistically in conception and execution, and why it is,
                > your dismissal just seems rather light and casual to me. Truthfully, it
                > reminds me of what you said when I first got you to see the film. You
                > walked out saying you'd spent much of the movie wondering if was
                > directed at all, or something to that effect. (Please correct me if I'm
                > wrong).

                I don't know how you remember these dumb-ass things I said 25 years ago,
                but I've mercifully forgotten. Anyway, I can't be more than casual in
                discussing this film: because I'm not a fan, the details don't stick with
                me. I just piped up because I thought I was on the spot.

                Actually, I think there's some interest in Daves among young auteurists.
                I'd still like to explore him further. - Dan
              • Blake Lucas
                ... years ago, ... Actually, I remember many more very intellilgent things you said back then, but because I regard this film so highly I remembered this, too.
                Message 7 of 16 , Oct 7, 2005
                View Source
                • 0 Attachment
                  --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt <sallitt@p...> wrote:
                  >

                  > I don't know how you remember these dumb-ass things I said 25
                  years ago,
                  > but I've mercifully forgotten.

                  Actually, I remember many more very intellilgent things you said
                  back then, but because I regard this film so highly I remembered
                  this, too. But I must admit it was probably unfair to recall it,
                  since "ratcheting up the suspense" was your current complaint and
                  probably the only fair one to address.

                  Anyway, I can't be more than casual in
                  > discussing this film: because I'm not a fan, the details don't
                  stick with
                  > me. I just piped up because I thought I was on the spot.

                  Along the same lines as the above, I believe we probably agree that
                  most of us are better on films we like or are interested in than ones
                  we don't, as this comment of yours kind of acknowledges. The things
                  I see in the film are from a strong familiarity, but you just didn't
                  respond to it enough to even argue those points or acknowledge those
                  things are there, whether they were artistically expressive or not.
                  And I will admit too that along the same lines, you could mount an
                  eloquent defense of "A nos amours" or "Romance" that I wouldn't
                  relate to because even though I saw the films and did draw a strong
                  impression about each, it was from a distance I didn't want to
                  traverse to possibly see them, even if more negatively, in the terms
                  that you do. To bring those two films into the argument was really
                  "dumb-ass" but it's interesting what one is likely to do late at
                  night after a long day a few drinks.


                  > Actually, I think there's some interest in Daves among young
                  auteurists.
                  > I'd still like to explore him further.

                  That's nice to hear. As I tried to get over before, one interesting
                  thing about him is that he is not some hidden director. He worked
                  at an A level through all 30 films, wrote or co-wrote the scripts
                  for two-thirds of them. So like him or not, he is kind of a
                  director who can have no alibis, and that is kind of unusual in
                  auteurist considerations.

                  I can only suggest if you want to explore him further that you just
                  move on to some other films of his and leave "3:10 to Yuma" behind
                  but it's hard for me to say what I'd recommend to you since I feel
                  that film is his masterpiece on every level, not just as a narrative
                  but in what it reveals about him as a stylist and a director who
                  thinks in formal terms. I'd suggest the well-regarded "Dark Passage"
                  outside of the genre, only I'm guessing you have seen that one.
                  "The Red House" which Brad queried about is a very interesting film
                  if you haven't seen it--as I said, I rate that as one of his best.
                  I have no idea of what you'd think of the other Westerns I like so
                  much, and guess you've probably see most of those two. Among his
                  many others, it's just hard to say what direction to go on.

                  But I would like again to you and everyone else that the often-
                  maligned group of eight films with which he ended his career, from
                  "A Summer Place" (1959) to "Battle of the Villa Fiorita" (1965) does
                  bear some attention. That doesn't mean I'm making any extravagant
                  claims for any of them individually--and the ones you might like
                  might be different than the ones I do so I wouldn't know which one
                  to single out--but more than any other group of films I can think of,
                  these films represent the last gasp of studio-era Hollywood. With
                  them melodrama as practiced through those last years ended, and
                  though it came back later, it could only do so self-consciously. But
                  if these Daves movies are not self-conscious, they are conscious, and
                  interesting, and the contrast between the glossy, seemingly neat
                  surfaces and the churning undercurrents are kind of fascinating.

                  Blake
                  >
                • Blake Lucas
                  This is in follow-up to my 31098 in reply to Dan. As I finished this, I had unexpected distraction and couldn t even give it a quick proofread, nor finish as
                  Message 8 of 16 , Oct 7, 2005
                  View Source
                  • 0 Attachment
                    This is in follow-up to my 31098 in reply to Dan. As I finished this,
                    I had unexpected distraction and couldn't even give it a quick
                    proofread, nor finish as I intended to. And that explains the typos
                    and missed words and so. But those couple of drinks were last night
                    and not today.

                    Anyway, what follows is the single word with which I intended to end
                    that post before signing off:

                    Peace
                  • Fred Camper
                    ... First, please forgive me, all; I ve been reading little of our group since I embarked on a long trip in Croatia a while ago. There was a direct question
                    Message 9 of 16 , Oct 9, 2005
                    View Source
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Blake Lucas wrote:

                      > ...I did notice a derisive reference from Fred Camper sometime earlier this
                      > year, as if the film were not even worth talking about...

                      First, please forgive me, all; I've been reading little of our group
                      since I embarked on a long trip in Croatia a while ago. There was a
                      direct question from hotlove to me that I didn't even answer and can no
                      longer locate, so I've not been a very good member, let alone moderator.
                      There's something about exploring the rugged and spectacularly
                      beautiful coast, or the amazing remains of Diolcletian's Palace in Split
                      with all the later additions, that makes me less interested in any 'Net
                      discussion group at the moment. I rarely read "FrameWorks," on
                      avant-garde film, either at present.

                      I did read Blake's post above, though. I don't remember the "derisive
                      reference" he refers to but I certainly don't think that the film is
                      "not even worth talking about." If I did make a quick comment it would
                      have been in light of a discussion about the film earlier in our
                      group's history, Zach Campbell posted some rave comments (3814) and as a
                      result I, long curious about Dave's, went to see it soon after because I
                      had the chance to see a nice 35mm print. I hated it, and replied in
                      7156, proof that I don't think it wasn't worth talking about. I did
                      think it was awful and it leaves me with a bad memory still. Zach
                      replied to me too with an intelligent rebuttal, but after 20 minutes of
                      searching I can't find his reply -- if Zach or anyone else can help,
                      please do. As our unofficial archivist I'm very disturbed I can't find it!

                      Anyway, I remember that exchange as an example of this group at its
                      best, an actual engaged discussion about a film in which things like
                      camera angles actually get mentioned. The only thing better would have
                      been if I'd loved the film -- or if at some point in the future I resee
                      it and love it in light of Zach's comments. But at present I remain
                      unconvinced.

                      I'm responding at length because brief, dismissive comments is something
                      I try to avoid here.

                      Fred Camper
                    • Fred Camper
                      I solved the problem indicated above. My real response to Zach is not in 7156, but earlier, post 6769, and the reply of Zach s that I couldn t find is at 6788.
                      Message 10 of 16 , Oct 9, 2005
                      View Source
                      • 0 Attachment
                        I solved the problem indicated above. My real response to Zach is not in
                        7156, but earlier, post 6769, and the reply of Zach's that I couldn't
                        find is at 6788. Both are substantive discussions.

                        Fred Camper
                      • Dan Sallitt
                        ... Well, if there s more, then my comment is incorrect. I must admit: I m okay with suspense as a tool for bringing out some other tension in the film, but I
                        Message 11 of 16 , Oct 17, 2005
                        View Source
                        • 0 Attachment
                          >> Everything in the film gets turned into something to ratchet up the
                          >> suspense. - Dan
                          >>
                          > Is suspense all of a sudden a dirty word? Yes, it's a suspense
                          > story. it's more likely to work if you ratchet it up than down. But
                          > there's so much more to it than just the suspense...

                          Well, if there's more, then my comment is incorrect.

                          I must admit: I'm okay with suspense as a tool for bringing out some other
                          tension in the film, but I don't care for suspense for suspense's sake.
                          It makes me say to myself, "Oh, wait - this is just a movie" - and then
                          there's nothing left. - Dan
                        • jpcoursodon
                          ... the ... But ... some other ... sake. ... then ... But how do you distinguish suspense for suspense s sake from suspense for the sake of... whatever else
                          Message 12 of 16 , Oct 17, 2005
                          View Source
                          • 0 Attachment
                            --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt <sallitt@p...> wrote:
                            >
                            > >> Everything in the film gets turned into something to ratchet up
                            the
                            > >> suspense. - Dan
                            > >>
                            > > Is suspense all of a sudden a dirty word? Yes, it's a suspense
                            > > story. it's more likely to work if you ratchet it up than down.
                            But
                            > > there's so much more to it than just the suspense...
                            >
                            > Well, if there's more, then my comment is incorrect.
                            >
                            > I must admit: I'm okay with suspense as a tool for bringing out
                            some other
                            > tension in the film, but I don't care for suspense for suspense's
                            sake.
                            > It makes me say to myself, "Oh, wait - this is just a movie" - and
                            then
                            > there's nothing left. - Dan

                            But how do you distinguish "suspense for suspense's sake" from
                            suspense for the sake of... whatever else you have in mind. How is
                            suspense in YUMA more "for it's own sake" than suspense in, say, RIO
                            BRAVO (which Hawks stated was made in part against Daves's film)?
                            And surely the quality of the relationships in YUMA would tend
                            to suggest that the movie is more than suspense for it's own sake.
                            There is always a moment even in the best of films where you can
                            say to yourself "this is just a movie" -- anyway Alfred always used
                            to say "It's only a movie" and yet he made some pretty good ones...

                            JPC
                            >
                          • Dan Sallitt
                            ... Well, you know what Hawks was saying: that he wanted Heflin to take back some of the power from Ford. I can t remember the line in question, but Heflin
                            Message 13 of 16 , Oct 17, 2005
                            View Source
                            • 0 Attachment
                              > I'm most tempted to call out Howard Hawks who repeatedly claimed that
                              > Van Heflin should have said to Glenn Ford that if there were to be any
                              > shooting, Ford would be the first one shot because Heflin would shoot
                              > him, and that Hawks corrected this in "Rio Bravo." But the problem with
                              > this is that Heflin does say this very thing to Ford in the film, and
                              > Hawks either overlooked it or deliberately chose to ignore it.

                              Well, you know what Hawks was saying: that he wanted Heflin to take back
                              some of the power from Ford. I can't remember the line in question, but
                              Heflin continues to live in fear throughout the movie, which clearly got
                              Hawks's goat.

                              > No other Western so richly anchors its story in seasonal/weather
                              > conditions, a drought, making this the mainspring of the film both
                              > visually and narratively, and as filmed, a palpable sense of this is in
                              > every frame, and one feels its effect on all the action and every
                              > relationship, both literally and in deeper, metaphorical ways.

                              I agree with you about the metaphorical ways!

                              What *is* the effect of the drought on the action? Like, how would Heflin
                              and Ford have done anything different during the rainy season?

                              If John Ford had directed this film instead of Daves, the drought would
                              have been important, and the ambient camera work would have been
                              important. (I certainly register the seasons as important in DRUMS ALONG
                              THE MOHAWK, and the thirst as important in THREE GODFATHERS.) And one
                              reason for this is that Ford would have probably found ways of minimizing
                              the importance of the suspense angle. You can't serve both God and
                              Mammon: if you're going to ratchet up suspense, you're going to obliterate
                              everything except what relates to the suspense. When Hitchcock stretches
                              out the suspense on the staircase at the end of NOTORIOUS, he can do it to
                              emphasize the separate states of mind of the participants (Dev scared, but
                              needing more his own redemption after having thrown Alicia to the wolves;
                              Alicia a little detached from life at this point, transcending fear with
                              the help of love and arsenic; Sebastian clinging desperately to life and
                              thereby gathering in our leftover identification points), but I don't know
                              how he could have used it to treat the seasonal/weather conditions in Rio.

                              > You know I find "A Nos amours" to be made in an emotional and stylistic
                              > straightjacket but I wouldn't dream of doubting that is directed, and
                              > directed in exactly the way that filmmaker wanted it to be. Similarly,
                              > "Romance" seems to me nothing more than a regurgitation of Breillat's
                              > own sexual confusion, perhaps deliberately created in a way that it will
                              > either have this effect or involve you empathetically with her personal
                              > notions, but this film too is clearly directed.

                              I don't really think you have to keep going with Pialat if you didn't like
                              A NOS AMOURS, but ROMANCE contains a strange, problemsome kind of
                              semi-direct discourse that isn't in Breillat's earlier films. Maybe you
                              should give her one more shot before writing her off: for you, I'd
                              recommend PARFAIT AMOUR!, which is on DVD and VHS. - Dan
                            • Dan Sallitt
                              ... It s like everything else: you put your antennae out, and if you can t find anything, you get bored. Those of you who liked the film can speak from a
                              Message 14 of 16 , Oct 17, 2005
                              View Source
                              • 0 Attachment
                                > But how do you distinguish "suspense for suspense's sake" from
                                > suspense for the sake of... whatever else you have in mind.

                                It's like everything else: you put your antennae out, and if you can't
                                find anything, you get bored. Those of you who liked the film can speak
                                from a greater position of authority, since you actually got it.

                                > How is suspense in YUMA more "for it's own sake" than suspense in, say,
                                > RIO BRAVO (which Hawks stated was made in part against Daves's film)?

                                I wrote about my favorite suspense scene, in NOTORIOUS, in another post.
                                If you want to use that paragraph as an indication of the sort of thing I
                                like, and produce some similar data about 3:10, then maybe you can help me
                                out.

                                > And surely the quality of the relationships in YUMA would tend
                                > to suggest that the movie is more than suspense for it's own sake.

                                If I felt that way, maybe I'd agree. I have to confess that the women in
                                that film didn't register on me - I can't even remember their faces now,
                                or anything that they did. And I haven't read anything to refresh my
                                memory (including your piece in American Directors, or Blake's in the
                                Western Reader), so I'm ill-equipped for this debate. I mostly remember
                                Heflin sweating and Ford grinning.

                                > There is always a moment even in the best of films where you can
                                > say to yourself "this is just a movie" -- anyway Alfred always used
                                > to say "It's only a movie" and yet he made some pretty good ones...

                                In my philosophy of things, you should be able to say "it's only a movie"
                                at any point in a film, and a good film should not be damaged by it. - Dan
                              • Fred Camper
                                ... In suspense for suspense s sake, the same emotional effect on the viewer could be achieved if the work were translated to live theater, or prose. In what
                                Message 15 of 16 , Oct 18, 2005
                                View Source
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  jpcoursodon wrote:

                                  > But how do you distinguish "suspense for suspense's sake" from
                                  > suspense for the sake of... whatever else you have in mind.

                                  In "suspense for suspense's sake," the same emotional effect on the
                                  viewer could be achieved if the work were translated to live theater, or
                                  prose. In what is by my lights a good film, the suspense mechanism is
                                  connected with more than "just" producing suspense. The classic case for
                                  me is the exploration of the house at the end of "Pyscho," with the
                                  sense of dread and horror connected into the plunge into the stasis of
                                  Norman Bates's mind.

                                  When I saw "3:10 to Yuma" I could see no "visual architecture," just
                                  picture-book storytelling, images embellishing the plot.

                                  Fred Camper
                                Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.